Right now the smells in the house remind me of that line from A Christmas Carol, “He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares.” Candles glow warm and waxy along the mantel, reflecting off our stocking hangers and photo frames. The grand fir, slowly loosing its freshness, still releases its sharp scent when we jostle it to fit another present under. BB2 and I have spent the day making ahead what we can for tomorrow’s feast - sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley from our garden layered over the scents of chocolate, mint and maple in the kitchen.
In the dark of winter, we’ve layered our house with light. Bright, coloured cheerful ones on the walk and stoop. Twinkling fairy lights on the tree. Tonight we’ll play games and eat treats both sweet and savoury. And then, when BB1 and his sweetheart have left, we’ll stuff the stockings. Hoping they are full-enough, but not too full. Hoping we haven’t forgotten anything. Hoping, most of all, that we've focused on the love instead of on the buying. .
Christmas Eve has long been my favourite part of Christmas. The day itself is so much mayhem. I don’t enjoy cooking enough to appreciate a full day of it. But Christmas Eve, that intake of breath and excitement we all share. That's where the magic is.
I love being someone who 'keeps Christmas well' - in keeping it meaningful and personal, which to me is so much more important than in recreating a scene from a magazine. I love having the people I love around me. I love making an effort and having it appreciated. I love having traditions – those my parents gave to me, those I created with the BBs, and those that STG and I are now creating in our new home. I love the planning, and the shopping. But more than that, I love sitting, the house quiet and rich, and listening for the angels to sing. I sit, and remember - ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel.’
Christmas has always been about anticipation. I suppose that’s the best tradition of all.